The template familiarity of urban spaces isn’t something I overtly notice, but it is something I feel when moving through these cities and towns; familiar paving patterns, similar plant species, the even spacing between trees, the predictable levels of light and shade. Colours and colour combinations also often seem all too familiar – a universal urbanism in which space is arranged in a few commercially purchasable designs.
The topic of the homogenisation of urban and architectural spaces is a current topic of academic research. In May 2018 Sonia Curnier published a thesis with EPFL analysing homogenisation trends of public places in Europe, lending great insight into the aesthetics of repeatable space. Far from being confined to the public realm, space-predictability is also being played out in commercial, public and private architecture. Looking up at the small black and white James Turrell prints on my entrance wall it occurred to me that if urban and architectural spaces were becoming familiar, then perhaps this is influencing both the shapes, colours, texture and forms that artists are producing as well as the type of work people are attracted to (and by extension, also buying and collecting).
As our world divides in discrete, compact units without consideration for the impact that urban and architectural repeat-ism has on the whole, are our art-forms also narrowing? For further reading, check out this article by geo41 ‘Homogenisation of Landscapes’.